Are Motor Skills and Problem Solving Ability in Boys Linked?

Recently, the University of Eastern Finland conducted a new study, the results of which indicate that boys with good motor skills prove to be better problem-solvers as compared to their peers with poor skills. The study also concluded that boys that are good at motor skills at baseline show less increase in their cognitive skills than those with lower motor skills.

Postdoctoral Researcher from the University of Jyväskylä, Eero Haapala, asserted, “It is important to remember that these results do not necessarily reflect a causal relation between motor skills and cognition. Boys with poorer motor and cognitive skills at baseline caught up with their more skillful peers during the two-year follow-up.

While there the study hints to a link between motor skills and cognitive skills for boys, there was no association found between overweight and obesity or aerobic fitness with cognitive function in them. This contradicts the results from previous studies. This new study showed no difference in the cognition of children with different levels of aerobic fitness. In fact, it was found from the two-year follow-up that boys with lower fitness had higher cognition and vice versa.

Evaluation of motor skills was done using agility, manual dexterity, and balance tests; that of aerobic fitness was done using ergometer and body fat percentage using DXA-device; and cognition was assessed by Raven’s Matrices Test. The longitudinal association of cognition in 371 children between the age group 6-8 years with their motor skills, body fat percentage, and aerobic fitness was investigated in the study. For the analysis, other significant factors like annual household income and parental education were also controlled for a few days.

The researchers found no relation between all the above-mentioned factors and cognitive skills in girls. The reason can be the sociocultural or biological differences between the two genders.

Although the outcomes of the study indicate that motor skills can boost cognition in boys, it is too soon to establish the definite relation between the two.

 

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